(Review originally written at 12 December 2008)

This movie is very typical for the '40's. It's an epic family drama, in which a lot of drama is happening. Best example of this genre is perhaps "Gone With the Wind". Well OK, bad example perhaps since that movie is from 1939 and not the '40's but when you say "Gone With the Wind" everyone knows the type of movie you mean. Those movie were really popular- and flourished in the '40's. I must say though that during that time period some better genre movies. A lot better and more powerful movies. Only thing that still makes this movie good and a bit more special is Orson Welles his touch.

It's funny how basically every Orson Welles movies seems so ahead of its time. It's techniques, it's storytelling. It's all something you wouldn't expect from an '40's movie but more from one made decades later. Also Welles his love for the radio shows in this movie. The movie is being made and told as a radio show, only with moving of course added to it, with Welles providing his own voice for the narration. Prior to this movie, Welles also made a radio show of the novel, this movie as well is being based on. For this, he used most of the actors that also star in this movie.

The movie really doesn't feature the best known actors from its era but everyone is simple well cast and suits their roles superbly. It even earned Agnes Moorehead an Oscar nomination. She really earned it as well in my opinion. She played the best character out of the movie and was truly splendid in her role. Her acting style didn't really seemed like anything common for '40's standards, which is perhaps the reason why her acting and characters stands out so much in the movie.

A problem I had with the movie though is that it was too long and just not always interesting to watch. Well, the movie actually isn't long at all with its 88 minutes but still the movie feels like a 3 hour drama production. Hard to say if this is Orson Welles his fault really, since it were the studios that 'butchered' this movie by cutting out 50 minutes of it, through editor and later turned famed director Robert Wise. Maybe Welles his version was a better flowing one, with some more drama and other moments added to it. We will never known, since the 'original' Welles version is most likely lost forever.

Nevertheless it otherwise still is a superior made movie, with some wonderful new fresh used techniques. Orson Welles was truly a pioneer in film-making and this movie as well is a good example of this, even though it's not his best or most interesting one. But is there even such a thing as a bad Orson Welles movie?


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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